Compost To Shelf  
 

A. COMPOSTING

 
Agaricus bisporus and Agaricus bitorquis, like all fungi, are heterotrophic organisms, which means, that for their nutrition and metabolism they depend on carbon sources formed earlier (during photosynthesis) by green plants, which are present in straw and in animal manure containing residues of vegetable matter used as animal feed.
 

Mushrooms belong to the fungi family and cannot grow on direct plant food and therefore, a specially prepared medium must be produced which is called special compost. Special compost is used as the substrate for the production of mushrooms. It is prepared in two phases.

 
Phase I is the heating in the pile which is generally carried out in the open air or under a cover. During this phase the manure and straw are mixed, moistened and placed in stacks which are turned every few days. Phase II is the conditioning, which takes place in layers (beds or trays) in a growing room or in bulk chamber / tunnels.
Composting is always described as a genuine aerobic process, in which oxygen plays an important role, however, anaerobic processes also keeps on playing its role not clearly understood so far.
 
Raw materials used for compost are:
Wheat straw/ Paddy straw/Sugar cane bagasse. Chicken manure
De-Oil Cakes Additive like gypsum, Urea etc.
 
a. Prewetting

All the materials have to undergo this phase which completes in 7 days. If we take 0 as staking ( see II below) then this phase is as under:

7 Mix wheat straw and chicken manure plus water.
4 Add chicken manure and recirculation of water from goody pits and turning the compost with machine.
0 Stack.

Water which is collected in goody pits and has leeched out from these materials is used first before more water is added. Final percentage of water i.e. moisture content should be 65-68% at the time of stacking.

This is an important phase, as mushrooms draw their water requirement mostly from this compost during cropping. Turning machine is used which mixes ingredients better for microorganisms to react and has the capacity to turn 70 M tones of compost in one hour. Some of the farms go for manual turnings, facilitated by workers in which case the process does not yield good results.
 
b. Stacking
Stacking operation is piling of pre-wet materials about 7 feet high with base of 6 feet depending on type of compost and outside temperature conditions. If we take stacking day as 0 day then this process takes 7 days as under.
O day - Stack is made using compost turning machine at platform having under stack aeration tubes. Core temperature should reach to 72 c. within 6 hours of stacking.
2 First turning is made with compost turner and right quantity of chicken manure is added
4 2 nd turning done as before, gypsum is added at this stage.
6 3 rd turn is done.
7 Compost is getting ready for filling in bunkers which is done the next day. It remains here for 72 hours. Later it is taken into bulk chamber.
It should have about 70% moisture and 1.8% nitrogen at the completion of filling.
 
c. Pasteurization

Bulk chamber building is duly insulated, having a perforated floor. Blowers and ducting are provided for air management.

The ready compost is cooled down to 50 0C gradually and maintained there till ammonia level falls to 10 pm. This process converts ammonia into proteins and growth substances acceptable to mushrooms. It is further cooled to 25 0C for spawning to take place.
 
d. Spawning
Spawn is introduced into compost and filled into plastic bags with capacity of 20 kg. These bags are sealed and are ready for transferring to mushroom growing houses.
Most of the operations are done by machines to maintain required standards of hygiene and easy handling of bulk materials.
 
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